AMID A CRACKER OF A MESS… – Fireworks at Mhatre Bridge one last time

PMC’s land and estate department had floated a tender for the auction of space near Mhatre Bridge, even though the fire and anti-encroachment department had opposed the stalls. Both departments need to issue no objection certificates (NOCs) for the stalls to be allowed. Meanwhile, stall owners tried to bring in political support and met mayor Dattatraya Dhankawade. However, he would not intervene as the land and estate department had already granted permission.

Finally, at a meeting hastily called on Tuesday night, deputy municipal commissioner Satish Kulkarni confirmed the development. “We have granted permission for firecracker stalls to be assembled at Mhatre Bridge only for this year. We have an undertaking from stall owners that they will ensure there is no traffic congestion or parking problems by depu ting additional traffic warden who will be paid from the stall owners’ own pockets,“ he said, adding, “Next year, a more suitable open spot will be found. At present, there is no time to find an alternate space.“

Since 1999, PMC gives firecracker stalls permission to set up for 15 days.For the past two years, residents of Erandwane have been complaining of noise and traffic snarls. Deputy municipal commissioner of the anti-encroachment department Madhav Jagtap had written to the land and estate department about these com plaints. Said Jagtap, “We already asked the land and estate department to not permit firecracker stalls in the Mhatre Bridge area.“

Prashant Ranpise, chief of the Pune fire department, said, “Earlier, we had told stall owners they could set up only after taking permission from the traffic police and the anti-encroachment department. Now, we have given permission for this year only.“

Shiva Mantri, a resident of Erandwane, said “Former PMC commissioner T C Benjamin denied stalls the permission to be constructed at Shaniwar Wada and shifted them to Mhatre Bridge on a a temporary basis.At the time, there were few people living around the area. Now, for the last 14 years, the corporation has been letting this continue. But, the area has developed and residents bear the brunt of the stalls. We have been asking for the stalls to be moved, but to no avail. Last year also, stall owners had told PMC they would take care of traffic and noise. How can we trust the administration?“ The traffic police department, too, washed its hands of the matter. S S Ambekar, police sub inspector of the department, who provides NOCs, “Stall owners asked us for NOCs, but we refused as they never asked for permission before. We told them it is an internal issue and they can resolve it themselves.“
Source : Pune Mirror



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